Donald Trump’s growing legal concerns stemming from investigations in New York and Scotland have received a lot of attention in recent months. But a Trump case, in which his 2016 nomination committee and the Trump organization were accused of a million dollar scam, has been going on for almost two years without getting too much attention, and this week , a judge has issued a major ruling indicating that the case is likely being tried. And that could mean that Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr., who have each been filed in this civil case, could find themselves on the stand and questioned about their involvement in an alleged brash scam of nonprofit funds.
In January 2020, Karl Racine, the Attorney General of Washington, DC, filed a lawsuit against the Trump Organization and the Presidential Inaugural Committee (the inaugural committee of Trump, a nonprofit known as PIC) . He alleged that PIC embezzled charitable funds to enrich the Trump family. As Racine put it, âThe groundbreaking committee, a nonprofit, coordinated with the Trump family to overpay for event space at the Trump International Hotelâ¦ The committee also used to misuse of nonprofit funds to throw a private party. [at the Trump Hotel] for the Trump family costing several hundred thousand dollars. In a way, Racine was saying that one of the Trump gang’s first post-election actions was to illegally use the nomination to earn money – a lot of money.
The case has focused on several of Trumpworld’s key players. Racine took depositions from Tom Barrack, the investor and friend of Trump who chaired the inauguration committee (and who was arrested and charged this summer with illegal lobbying for the United Arab Emirates); Rick Gates, the former vice-chair of the committee, who later pleaded guilty to two counts stemming from the Trump-Russia investigation by Special Advocate Robert Mueller; and two of Trump’s grown children: Ivanka and Donald Jr.
According to Racine’s investigation, both Ivanka and Donald Jr. were involved in deliberations related to the alleged embezzlement. The lawsuit alleges Ivanka knew that PIC was overcharging the Trump Hotel in Washington, DC, for event space during the grand opening in January 2017. Documents show that while arranging the grand opening, Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, a senior producer of the event, raised concerns with President-elect Ivanka and Gates that the Trump Hotel was overloading the groundbreaking committee for events held there. Gates ignored the warning, trial notes, and the committee contracted the Trump Hotel for $ 1.03 million, an amount the lawsuit found to be well above the company’s own pricing guidelines. ‘hotel.
Racine also alleges that Gates, to Ivanka’s knowledge, “allowed the [PICâs] nonprofit funds to pay for a private after-hours party for the Trump family at their hotel, even after [the PICâs] staff initially canceled this event due to concerns about misuse of funds. In a legal brief in the case, Racine alleged that Donald Jr. was also instrumental in the alleged misappropriation of charitable funds for this private Trump party: “Attendance was by invitation only, and guests were limited. to friends and family of the president. -elected and guests of the Hotel. And Racine adds: âIncredibly, the final decision to proceed with the event was not even taken by the [inauguration committee], but by Donald Trump, Jr. The event, according to Racine, cost $ 288,367. In legal documents, the attorney general pointed out that Trump, Donald Jr., Ivanka, and Eric Trump each benefited from the Trump Hotel’s income.
Racine is seeking to recoup the nearly $ 1.1 million that he says was poorly spent by PIC and benefited the Trump family. He asks the DC Superior Court to direct these funds to another reputable nonprofit.
On Monday, DC Superior Court judge JosÃ© LÃ³pez issued a ruling that overturned part of Racine’s case, ordering the New York-based Trump organization to be withdrawn from the trial over jurisdictional issues . But he allowed the case to go to trial to determine whether the PIC payments at the Trump Hotel violated the law prohibiting tax-exempt organizations from making payments to an individual not covered by the targets. public interest of the nonprofit organization.
âRacine sued Donald Trump’s presidential nomination committee for embezzling nonprofit funds to enrich the Trump family,â said Marrisa Geller, spokesperson for Racine. âIt’s a big deal that our trial is moving forward and going to trial. The ground-breaking committee mis-spent over $ 1 million in nonprofit funds illegally benefiting private interests. We cannot allow those in power to get away with using money to enrich themselves illegally and their families. “
The case has already cast Ivanka Trump and Donald Jr. in a negative light. As Mother Jones Previously reported, evidence submitted in the trial indicated that Trump Jr. had falsely testified on crucial points during his testimony. Ivanka, too, testified inaccurately during her testimony. If either is called as a witness at the trial, prosecutors could highlight these discrepancies.
A record in the case has also linked Allen Weisselberg, the chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, to the Trump inauguration scandal. When PIC spending was questioned in a report in 2017, Barrack brought in Weisselberg to oversee the organization’s own internal audit. It was strange, given that Weisselberg was a senior official in a company that had received a large sum of money from the PIC. Weisselberg is now a key figure in the Trump Organization’s criminal and civil investigations by the New York attorney general and the Manhattan district attorney. In July, Weisselberg and the Trump Organization were indicted on charges of tax evasion. (A prosecutor in this case alleged that the 15-year tax regime was “orchestrated by the top executives” of the Trump company.)
The alleged details of the Trump inauguration scandal fit the established pattern of the Trump family abusing the tax code and foundation funds for their own gain. With LÃ³pez’s decision, the Trump Organization has eluded Racine. But now the DC Attorney General will likely have a chance to prove the gist of his case: The Trump clan is a kleptocracy.